South Dakota State Capitol photo by Jim Bowen courtesy of Flickr under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0. Composite with state seal by A1F staff.
South Dakota legislators are able to carry concealed in the Capitol during the legislative session for the first time, thanks to a bill passed last year.
Lawmakers with enhanced carry permits that also notify the Highway Patrol—which provides security at the Capitol—at least 24 hours in advance may now carry concealed during the 2020 legislative session, the first since the bill’s passage.
SB115 (2019) passed by votes of 20-13 and 44-19 in the state Senate and House of Representatives, respectively. Gov. Kristi Noem signed the bill into law on March 18, 2019, and it went into effect on July 1 of the same year.
State Sen. Jim Stalzer, who sponsored the bill, said he felt that it “gave lawmakers and state government employees a chance to defend themselves if someone attacks,” according to AP News.
State Rep. Dayle Hammock, a former law enforcement officer, said he estimated that six to 10 legislators would be carrying this legislative session. He also plans to teach other legislators about how to carry safely.
South Dakota joins a growing number of states that allow at least some law-abiding citizens to carry concealed in its Capitol. This change stands in stark contrast to the decision made by Virginia legislators to ban the carry of all firearms from Capitol buildings.
Legislators in Virginia, with a newly-elected anti-gun Democratic majority in each chamber, hastily banned the carrying of firearms in state Capitol buildings. “These are policies and rules that should have passed a long, long time ago,” said House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, reported AP News.
A statement from House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert read, “Through their underhanded maneuvers Democrats have already made it clear that they’ll do whatever it takes to implement their agenda, including making major policy change with no notice and little debate.”
“This majority, bought and paid for by Michael Bloomberg, will stop at nothing to cast your right of self-defense aside. This is just the first step as they make their way down Bloomberg’s wish-list,” reported the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
The decision to allow only armed security in Virginia’s capitol certainly aligns with Bloomberg’s worldview. Responding to an incident in Texas where a lawfully armed citizen stopped a murderer within seconds, the former New York City mayor said, “It’s the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot. You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place.”
While Virginia politicians are threatening to limit your Second Amendment freedoms, South Dakota also legalized constitutional carry last year, allowing residents to carry concealed handguns without a permit throughout the state.